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4 TECH HACKS TO FASTER CUSTOMER ONBOARDING IN THE BANKING & FINANCE INDUSTRY

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4 TECH HACKS TO FASTER CUSTOMER ONBOARDING IN THE BANKING & FINANCE INDUSTRY

By Rami Bachir, Sales Manager – Middle East at Kodak Alaris, Information Management division

Rami Bachir

Rami Bachir

Customer onboarding or client onboarding (CoB), as we call the process of ‘entering’ new customers in the organization is an important moment of truth. It’s when you really make the difference, deliver upon the promises why people became a customer to start with and the stage when the seeds of customer retention and high customer lifetime value are planted. When it’s done poorly, customer onboarding is where the seed of churn are planted. In some industries onboarding takes more time and is more complicated, due to among others the complex nature of the service and the loads of information and data that are involved.

Banking and financial institutions that get customer onboarding right can improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, enhance regulatory compliance, lower churn and gain better insights into customer preferences.

Customer onboarding is a critical first stage in customer experience. After all, first impressions make lasting impacts. Evidence suggests we form first impressions in about 1/10 of a second, and that they stick with us for the duration of a relationship.

Because of this, better, faster customer onboarding translates into growth: most business leaders agree it is cheaper to retain a customer than it is to acquire one. Also, 94% of customers who have a “low-effort experience” will buy from that same company again.

Not only that, but once your customers are happily onboarded, they return the favor with of lower-touch annuity revenue.

To get both sides of the equation happy, you need to make the process as easy as possible. And that starts by reducing complexity. In the Era of Data Chaos, routine processes like customer onboarding frequently become bogged down by the sheer volume of data and documents. This leads to an onboarding process that takes too many steps and zig-zags between paper and digital touchpoints. This of course is not a good start to a long-term customer relationship.

Streamline Customer Onboarding in 4 Quick Steps

The good news is that improving the customer onboarding process doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. Making small improvements to customer onboarding can have a sizable impact. Change in this regard is both critical and possible – we chose the word ‘hacks’ to describe the tips below because these incremental steps have substantial pay-offs, and don’t take a great deal of time or resources.

You can move the needle – today – by streamlining customer onboarding:

1. Standardize where you can. Connect where you can’t.

Repeatability is key to increasing efficiency. If your customer onboarding looks different every time, it’s important to establish standards for interaction with new customers, including everything from the order of email and phone communication to required documentation at different stages.

It is true that some customer needs will vary and require special attention. A standard process gives you a straight line to internal efficiency, but it doesn’t give all your customers the flexibility they need in the real world. Not every customer can come into the office to make a copy of their identification, for example. But in this case, when you can accept a picture taken from a smartphone, a customer’s experience is smoother, and they’re onboarded faster. Even better, modern web-capture solutions can connect to your backend systems, reducing manual effort on your part to input customer information.

2. Use paper as an input, not an endpoint.

Customer onboarding typically relies heavily on paper. In finance, examples are account/card applications, credit reports, and loan origination documents. For law firms, it could be intake forms, depositions, and release forms. Every industry has a mountain of paper documents that come with new business.

Customer onboarding with paper as an input is able to process information at the speed of business. Rather than relying on paper – which can only be in one place at once time – as a final record, modern customer onboarding uses web capture to quickly scan, categorize and distribute customer information to internal stakeholders.

 3. Automate needs assessment where possible.

On a first visit with a new client, much of your upfront time may be spent asking questions that are fairly routine, or gathering documents that could be submitted before the appointment. Where possible, automate. Create an online survey for onboarding questions, or allow web submission for needed signup forms.

You save massive amounts of time on busy work, and your customers are able to complete their parts at their convenience.

  1. Reach out early with helpful welcome resources.

Greeting your customers with helpful documentation and tutorials not only indicates thoughtfulness, it also improves the speed of onboarding. Welcome packets and online libraries do this by serving as customer support that works for you: customers can get their questions answered on-demand.

If left on your website or product passively, your new customers may have to go hunting for information when they need it. Much like websites, where first impressions are formed in 50 milliseconds, customers will have quick reactions to your product.

Don’t let your customers get discouraged and give up after they’ve committed to your product and your business. Proactively reach out with helpful tips and information, so they feel comfortable using your offerings and know they have support available a click away.

A great way to do this is with a welcome series of emails. After they sign up, use marketing automation tools to serve them up a collection of emails with tips on getting started and getting the most out of your service or product.

You can also bring new levels of engagement with automated physical mailer delivery. Lob.com is a new service that enables you to “programmatically send physical mail at scale.” The value to your organization is in significantly reduced costs and increased speed.

You Can Speed Up Customer Onboarding Today

As far as experience is concerned, customers need to know you’ve done this before. You are experts at delivering great experiences with your products and services. When they are greeted by a clear outline, informed of the steps upfront, and guided effortlessly through the process, the positive first impression will pay dividends.

 And when it comes to efficiency, it’s a simple concept with tangible implications: making a plan is always a good first step toward improvement.

Technology

Simplifying the Sector: How low code can aid digital transformation in financial services

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Simplifying the Sector: How low code can aid digital transformation in financial services 1

By Nick Ford Chief Technology Evangelist, Mendix

From online banking to contactless payments and Apple Pay, it has been well demonstrated that the financial services industry is significantly ahead of many others when it comes to technology.

Traders, as well as customers, are now armed with the latest advances in technology and able to operate at super speed with more information at their fingertips than ever before.

However, the sector has not been immune from challenges created by COVID-19. The most significant challenge is maintaining the level of innovation they have been historically known for, with constrained budgets and smaller teams.

The pressure is on

The financial services sector is certainly quite complicated. There are many different regulatory bodies that monitor corporate conduct, which can make innovation a slow and arduous task. It also means that every time a new law is implemented, the sector needs to adjust to it, and that can mean anything from revising security protocols to radically changing the way information is processed, transmitted or audited.

This makes the job difficult for IT managers in the sector. Many of the systems they’re dealing with are old fashioned, dating back many decades and therefore not up to standard when it comes to performance and security. With lockdown restrictions meaning most sector staff are working remotely, this adds an extra pressure to IT teams that now have to ensure systems, data and work devices are functioning and always accessible. Digital transformation can help with this and a recent Mendix study found that 76% of IT managers in the sector believe it can improve operational efficiency.

Tech as a necessity

The sector now must be alert due to a new emerging challenge – the tech savvy customer. The modern age means customers are demanding much more from the services they are offered, with two things being highly desired; speed and transparency. As a result, many banks, hedge funds, and investment firms are investing in the appropriate technology to help meet these demands. The data that comes with upgrading ultimately allows financial institutions to better understand their customers and tailor their services more accurately to the changing trends influencing customer behaviour, Being able to have such knowledge is becoming more vital, as the pandemic continues to significantly affect the behaviour patterns of consumers and the preferences driving them.

Investing in technology can also increase efficiency within the sector at a time where teams and budgets are stretched, which can obviously have massive benefits. Digital transformation also leads to faster, better performing systems provides teams with the right tools they need to effectively get their job done. Tech is no longer a fintech privilege – it’s a currency. So much so that nine out of 10 IT leaders in financial services believe their firm will need to invest in digital projects over the next two years, just to survive in a rapidly changing market.

Powering digital transformation with low-code

To manage these different priorities, IT teams need to look beyond themselves and collaborate with different departments to create revenue-generating services that truly answer the clients’ needs – and it needs to empower all developers with the right tools to do so. This improved collaboration between IT and customer-facing staff means that services are designed to suit the needs of the customer-base, whilst reducing the pressure of an already-stretched IT team.

Low-code is one way to foster this collaboration. It requires little coding knowledge or expertise, meaning software development or the creation of business applications can include staff with non-technical backgrounds. Instead of having a back and forth between tech teams and other departments – of which miscommunication is always a risk – the development of apps can be  inclusive involving a variety of teams, bringing together those that understand the business problems with those that understand the IT landscape, core systems and services to contribute to the vision of a product. IT stays in control with governance and guardrails built in to ensure compliance to the various standards required.

Digital transformation is an ongoing process in every industry. With low-code programming some of the current complexities and challenges facing the financial services sector can be tackled, allowing it to fully step into the digital age and continue being a hub of technological innovation.

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Leading from the front – why decision makers must embrace automation

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Leading from the front - why decision makers must embrace automation 2

By Jeppe Rindom, Co-founder & CEO, Pleo

Ask any decision maker at a business about admin and you’re likely to be met with a familiar response – it’s a necessary evil that swallows time, but also helps inform strategic choices. Informed decisions are always better than uninformed ones, but many businesses still rely on outdated legacy processes to gather the data they need to make critical choices… and we’ve all seen the perils of a poorly maintained Excel spreadsheet in the news recently.

At director level, these administrative tasks can consist of signing off expenses or monitoring company spending to inform upcoming budgets. Although crucial to running a business well, these can be time-consuming and frustrating when you don’t have the right tools to make sense of it all. The solution? A simple change of approach.

A logical solution

This is where automation comes in. Over the last decade, we’ve seen how technologies including chat-bots and artificial intelligence have impacted everyday business, from customer-services and marketing to data analytics and time-management. More than ever, this is allowing employees to free  up time to work more efficiently and focus on business-critical tasks. But this isn’t a quick fix. At a decision making is required. Ironically, a lot of these tasks relate to how a business can improve efficiency and productivity.

Add in the fact that many of these senior staff members have tight schedules, and can’t afford to spend several hours trawling through spreadsheets, and it’s little wonder high level admin is still an issue. In a recent customer survey, we found that 75% of senior managers spend over an hour a week on expense reports, with 14% losing nearly a whole working day (five hours or more) a week to managing them – time that could be better spent growing their business. The same study found that our platform saves people an average of 11.5 hours a month on managing company expenses. If you consider this could mean an extra day for a CFO or Finance Director to spend on more essential tasks, such as business forecasting or growth planning, the reward for investing in well designed automation at this level is clear.

Building trust

Jeppe Rindom

Jeppe Rindom

But, automation isn’t just a case of saving time; it also fosters trust. Our study found that over half (51%) of users agreed that automating the laborious parts of their expenses like receipt capture, categorisation and expense reports also helped them build trust within their organisation. Automation helped them to excel at the things they’re most interested in, and were actually hired to do. I’m a huge advocate of empowering people with the tools they need to succeed. And through the empowerment automation brings, it’s only natural that employees begin to feel their worth in the business and that they are trusted.

A business-wide approach

Yet for automation to work, a company-wide understanding of its potential is vital. Adoption by senior staff should not be seen as simply a fringe benefit, as automation relies on understanding and endorsement from all levels of a business to work efficiently. A report titled ‘Automation and the future of work,’ published by the British Government in September 2019 noted that the successful implementation of automation “relies on managers and business leaders themselves being able to understand the potential of automation and the impact of technological change.” In this respect, managers will be your biggest ally when embracing automation. Any manager worth their salt understands the benefits of leading through example, and by creating automation ‘advocates’, businesses can ensure teams are comfortable with the impending change. While many busy managers often resist new processes (especially those to do with unfamiliar technology), they usually find that investing a short amount of time getting to grips with an automation platform pays off in the long term.

One of the most frequent pieces of feedback we receive is that an effectively automated platform allows staff to focus on strategy, culture and creativity, with the knock-on effect of automating mundane tasks being felt throughout an entire organisation, not just one relieved individual.

Having a smart, automated platform can also massively reduce the chance of human error at an early stage. This can be disastrous when data is relied upon to make important decisions at a later date. In this respect, having access to accurate information can be a game-changing benefit for decision-makers, particularly those working under increased pressure.

At a time when businesses are facing rapid and unpredictable changes, ensuring your business is equipped with the right tools for success is crucial. And while automation may seem an intimidating change, the huge benefits it can bring to both processes and culture will outweigh any initial concerns. By giving senior staff and their team members alike the ability to embrace smart automation, efficiency will speak for itself, and your business’ success will flourish.

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How robotic technology will disrupt the manufacturing industry

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How robotic technology will disrupt the manufacturing industry 3

By Marga Hoek, author of The Trillion Dollar Shift

Robotics technology has the potential to disrupt industries across all sectors – but its impact on the manufacturing industry will be transformative. Not only can robots increase productivity, efficiency and profit margins but adopting this tech for good will be a key way for the manufacturing industry to transition to a more sustainable future.

Driving productivity & efficiency

Manufacturing processes are faster, more efficient, and more cost-effective when humans and robots work together. Studies show that idle time is reduced by 85% when people work collaboratively with a human-aware robot, rather than in an all-human team.[1] Modern robotic automation is key to reshaping production processes to become more efficient and reliable. They deliver significant benefits for companies and investment is often recouped within just 18 months.[2]

Robots in manufacturing can allow businesses to monitor the production lines from anywhere and pinpoint issues quickly, allowing for production to continue smoothly and efficiently, ensuring companies surpass consumers’ expectations of supply chain speed and reliability. Intelligent industrial service robots are an upcoming industrial tool that will amplify manufacturing capabilities and allow businesses to safely operate faster, in places humans could never go, and with cognitive and physical capabilities not yet imagined.

Transitioning to a sustainable future

Robots are a vital way to reduce pollution and emissions from manufacturing operations. For starters, they reduce our reliance on larger vehicles and machines that are harmful to the planet. Robots’ ability to be extremely accurate and minimize errors is also hugely important in sustainability efforts to reduce waste. Robots also aid businesses in their energy-saving process because they do not require as much energy to operate as humans do. Where humans need facilities with sufficient lighting and heat, robots can work under cold and dark conditions. This drastically reduces the amount of energy used in the manufacturing production process. It is estimated that for every 1C reduced in factory heat levels, there is a potential saving of up to 8%.[3] In addition, up to 20% of energy savings can be reached if the plant turns off any unnecessary lighting.

Case Study: GE

Tech giant GE is a brilliant example of how robotics technology can both boost the bottom line and sustainability.

GE is at the forefront of robotics manufacturing technology. Their value proposition is tightly tied to productivity in field service and manufacturing and offers potential cost savings within operations. While delivering industrial-grade service robotic systems that enable automation, productivity and safety for GE and its customers, the company works closely with GE business units, GE customers and strategic partners across the globe to envision, shape and build intelligent robotic technologies from idea to commercialization.

Marga Hoek

Marga Hoek

GE’s recent $125 million investment project at its Decatur refrigerator plant boosted production capacity, added new “smart” technology and increased the site’s workforce.  This includes auto guided vehicles, or AGVs, that move materials through the assembly process and more than 50 robots that perform heavy lifting operations and repetitive tasks.

The expansion project, announced in June 2018, allowed GE Appliances to increase production to meet growing demand for its freezer-refrigerators, which are top-rated in the industry for both quality and reliability. The expansion created 255 jobs, bringing total employment at the plant to 1,300. The project boosts production capacity by 25 % and ensures early compliance with 2022 refrigerant changes, making the Alabama plant a super site for GE. GE Appliances said Industry 4.0 technology additions at the Decatur facility include data visualization, 3-D scanning, rapid prototyping and other smart automation that provides the operations team with real-time data to make better and faster decisions.

Achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Utilizing robotics technology within the manufacturing industry can help to meet the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for a healthier planet, to be met by 2030:

SDG 3 – Good Health & Wellbeing: Collaborating with people, service robots work with shoulder-to-shoulder and over long distances, to fulfil dull, dirty and dangerous work.

SDG 8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth: Presenting new growth opportunities for businesses and creating new jobs at manufacturing plants

SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure:  Manufacturing value proposition of robotics ties tightly to productivity and brings potential cost savings into those operations.

SDG 12 – Responsible Production & Consumption: Providing a new and rich data source for companies to produce products responsibly

Marga Hoek is a global thought-leader on sustainable business, international speaker and the author of The Trillion Dollar Shift, a new book revealing the business opportunities provided by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The Trillion Dollar Shift is published by Routledge, in hardback and e-book. For more information go to www.margahoek.com

[1] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/08/here-s-how-robots-can-help-us-confront-covid/

[2] https://www.industrialtechnology.co.uk/products–transforming-your-sustainability-with-robotic-automation.html

[3] https://greencleanguide.com/how-robotics-is-revolutionizing-sustainability/

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